Cam’s desperate pitch to save The Block
The cast and crew of The Block hurtle headfirst towards the coronavirus lockdown in episodes airing this week.
Tuesday's episode, filmed back on March 18, sees the increasingly worried contestants crowding around a television for one of PM Scott Morrison's increasingly frequent addresses to the nation.
Morrison announces an immediate ban on non-essential gatherings of 100 people or more, but specifies that construction sites are exempt.
Contestants breath a sigh of relief. Little do they know that in a week's time, in scenes yet to air, the pandemic will force The Block to shut down.
As the production grapples with the enormity of the situation, Block host Scott Cam calls an emergency meeting to deliver an unprecedented pitch to contestants.
"I know how hard it is being here on The Block in this situation, and especially for the parents of young children," he says, as several contestants start to cry.
South Australian couple Daniel and Jade, WA's Luke and Jasmin and Queenslanders Jimmy and Tam are all parents to young children being cared for back in their home states.
"I've come up with an idea that may keep us ahead of the game. We bring your children and your carers here with us, in case you can't get there or they can't get here when schools shut."
Cam offers to build "a little schoolhouse" at Block HQ, and provide teachers to run lessons. Flights and accommodation for the children and their carers will all be covered.
"And you guys can visit your kids at recess and lunchtime! But in all seriousness, in this scary time - and especially scary for the kids - you really need to be with your children," says Cam, himself a father-of-three.
"If all goes well, just maybe we can finish this thing and do it as a Block family, with everybody's family here."
It's an incredible offer, and one that would drastically change the show, which usually sees contestants operate in a Block 'bubble' with limited contact to their families back home.
Sadly, it doesn't take long for several couples to realise it's probably too unrealistic to work.
Queensland couple Jimmy and Tam haven't seen their young daughter Frankie in five weeks, and their immediate urge is to fly her down to Melbourne.
"But she's safe, she's in Noosa away from all this … we had to figure out what the best thing for her was," says Jimmy.
Daniel and Jade instantly know that having family on-site "is not going to be an option".
The couple have three young children being cared for by their parents while they film The Block. Their youngest, Isla, is one of only eight children in the world identified with a rare chromosome disorder that affects her speech and physical ability.
The tearful couple say relocating Isla to Melbourne would be "more than a nightmare".
In Wednesday night's episode, the parents on The Block have to makes some tough decisions about their families as the coronavirus "apocalypse" looms.
The Block continues 7.30pm Wednesday on Nine
Originally published as Cam's desperate pitch to save The Block